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February 2023
Tim Bilecki

Case Result: Marine SAPR Defense

Allegations: Sexual Harassment, Fraternization.
Darwin, Australia and MacDill AFB, Florida
Marine Gunnery Sergeant,E-8
The allegations were resolved with a 6105 counseling statement, avoiding the more severe consequences of a court martial or NJP.

Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once famously stated “The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!” That statement is as true today as it was 100 years ago, but in the era of Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SAPR), those filthy minds are becoming a serious liability.

A Marine Gunnery Sergeant found himself in trouble with the UCMJ over a comment and the ghost of Chesty Puller is in tears that such a thing is even possible. The Gunny was stationed at MacDill AFB, but the trouble came from a comment made down under in Darwin, Australia. He complimented a female lieutenant in a manner that was later questioned as being too frank.

Now, the Gunnery Sergeant acknowledged the comment and as such, it wasn’t a case of whether it was said. Rather, he made it clear that he meant no disrespect by the comment and in terms of all the filthy words ever uttered by any Marine, it was pretty low on the nasty scale. Unfortunately in the era of SAPR, any allegation of impropriety is like blood in the water for commands and the sharks started coming in for the kill.

Additional allegations began to surface regarding other derogatory comments made about junior Marines and reported fraternization with a superior officer. It didn’t matter that these allegations were false, just that they were made was enough for the command to consider action. Wisely, the Gunny wasn’t going to play around with his career and reputation. He retained UCMJ defense lawyer Tim Bilecki to fight back on his behalf.

Bilecki conducted his own investigation and was able to present such a solid defense for the Gunny that it never arose to the court martial or NJP level. By addressing the nuances of the comment made towards the Lieutenant, Bilecki was able to help the command see that this was far too much activity and resources spent regarding the filthy mind of a Marine. The issue was resolved with a 6105 counseling statement and the Marine was able to continue his career without further issue. Had the Gunnery Sergeant not retained defense counsel early, who knows how far down the judicial rabbit hole this case would have gone.

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